“Hoss, you ain’t gonna believe this,
but that crazy (bleep) just tried to
drive under my truck!”
– Cledus Snow in Smokey And The Bandit
In the Burt Reynold’s classic Smokey and The Bandit, it’s entertaining to watch truck drivers throw caution to the wind and race “from Atlanta to Texarkana and back in 28 hours”. But anyone who’s been involved in a collision with an 18-wheel truck would tell you being in a truck-related accident is not an amusing situation.
The truth is most truck drivers take great precautions to keep themselves and other drivers safe on the roads. However, aggressive deadlines and systemic pressures to drive further faster can create hazardous scenarios where the person behind the wheel of an 18-wheel truck is dangerously fatigued.
With the number of 18-wheel trucks on our Texas roads increasing, it is important to know how to drive defensively is such a way as limit your chances of being in a dangerous collision. Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles are involved in some quarter of a million accidents each year, but statistics show it’s the passenger vehicles that are most often found to be at fault.
With these things in mind, here are a few ideas that could save you from the headache of a traffic accident or the heartache of an injury or fatal collision with an 18-wheel truck.
Semi-Trucks Have Large Blind Spots
Many trucks put it out on the back of their rigs for everyone to see – “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you.” Try not to spend much time immediately behind the trailer of an 18-wheeler for that reason. Avoiding driving in blind spots where drivers have limited or no visibility is always a good idea. Speed up or slow down to get out of those blind spots, staying where commercial truck drivers can see your vehicle.
18-Wheelers Simply Cannot Stop Fast
We get so used to the relative ease with which we can change lanes or come to a stop in our cars and sometimes it’s hard to remember that drivers or large vehicles simply cannot maneuver or stop as quickly as we can. In general, it takes a semi-truck 40% longer to stop than passenger vehicles. At 60 mph, it takes more than 2 football fields distance for commercial trucks to stop.
Be cognizant of these ideas, especially when road conditions are hazardous. Rain, fog, ice, snow, construction, or even sharp curves and steep downgrade of hills can all increase the chances of accidents with 18-wheel trucks.
Road Rage & Carelessness Costs Lives
Studies show that drivers who drive angrily or carelessly are responsible for almost 50% of the fatal traffic accidents that occur. Courteous & conscientious driving is always a good idea, but know that running a stop sign, excessive speeding, running stop signs and red lights, or passing illegally greatly increases your chances of being involved in a serious accident, especially when large commercial vehicles and semi-trucks are involved.
More than 80% of fatalities and more than 75% of injuries caused by accidents involving semi-trucks happen to the drivers and passengers of the smaller passenger vehicles they collide with. Taking the kinds of precautions we mentioned above and being more aware of your vehicle in relation to these trucks can prevent unnecessary damage to yourself, your family, and others.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident involving an 18-wheel truck, call Smith and Lee. With a penchant for tough cases and a history of proven results, our team can assist you in discussing your rights and discovering if you have a case to pursue compensation for damages.
Enlisting the advocacy to get help you and your family needs may be just an email or phone call away. Contact us today.